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Posted: November 23rd, 2004, 11:36 am
by Terry Screen
I must say that I've found this whole topic absolutely fascinating,illuminating and a real live treasure hunt to boot.
It's given me a whole new perspective when reading EATCT.
My thanks to you all, and great job Mr. Karr with your contributions here and with Magical Past-Times.

Gotta get back to the book!

Regards . .



Posted: November 23rd, 2004, 3:27 pm
by Tommy
Just a thought or two.

Kokomo, 1901 E S Andrews, Same scam, same name!
Oshkosh, 1904 E S Andrews, Same scam, same name!
The Chicago 1907 E S Andrews, Same scam, same name!

I find it strange that a conman would want to use the same false name over and again to play the same con trick. In other words why not use a different false name.
After 1901, when his con comes to light, why not go to ground and emerge under a new false name, and after the 1904 conviction why carry on in the same name.

It tends to suggest to me, that it is not a false name. That E S Andrews was prepared to front this con. That is, he does it, confident, that he can beat the rap if arrested.

E S Andrews was indeed confident of winning the case in is jail house interview but was convicted. However if that conviction was quashed on appeal then it makes a bit of sense.
In that event his confidence in this legal loophole con might have grown and he would have carried on doing it. We do not know, do we, if he won an appeal. Also I note that there is no evidence that Tyler was convicted. I ask as I am not sure.

I am aware of conmen here in England who use their own name over and over, pulling a legal loophole con. Even though they are arrested time and again they, do not get convicted. These con games are similar in nature to the E S Andrews con; suffice to say that they are based on getting permission from the owner to take his goods or cash. It results in a civil case, rather than criminal one. They purposely use their real names because using a false name might be evidence of criminal intent.

Turning to another idea: E S Andrew appears well educated in business and might have gone to a business college. I do not know but perhaps there were few such Colleges at that time. One place I heard mentioned is Bryant & Stratton Business College. A long shot but maybe they have a student record. Or any education records might be worth a look as he sounds to me like a guy who had qualifications.



PS Also why use this particular false name in reverse to write the S W Erdnase book. Again it suggests E S Andrews would have been his real name not a false one. What do you think, or have I got my facts wrong, sorry if that is so.


Posted: November 23rd, 2004, 5:40 pm
by magicam
Richard Hatch wrote:

I believe Charlier is also mentioned in Hoffmann's 1889 Tricks with Cards, though I don't have a copy I can check. He is mentioned by name in Howard Thurston's Card Tricks (1901) and more importantly in Roterberg's 1897 New Era Card Tricks, which was almost certainly a source and inspiration for Erdnase, as pointed out by Jeff Busby (Roterberg's book sold very well for the same $2 cover price). Erdnase mentions his interest in conjuring literature on page 126: "But so far as we can learn from the exhibitions and literature of conjurers...". In his first (and primary) mention of Charlier, Erdnase writes (p. 128): "This is known to conjurers as the "Charlies [sic] Pass," and we presume was invented by the famous magician of that name." I don't believe any other writer on conjuring at the time would have refered to Charlier as a "famous magician" and the fact that Erdnase misspells his name in this initial and primary reference (it is spelled correctly in a latter passing reference) suggests to me that he was not a magical "insider." It does not follow that he was necessarily a professional gambler, but his familiarity with that world does seem more intimate to me.
Richard, as you have had your head into this problem for years, your judgment is far better informed than mine. That said, given Erdnase's penchant for misdirection, I do not find the one-time (intentional?) misspelling of Charlier's name and the "famous magician" phrase as very hearty evidence that Erdnase was unfamiliar with magic and magicians of the day.

Even with the additional books you cite, this subset of magic books mentioning Charlier is still quite small, although admittedly the titles you mention do incorporate the word "Card[s]" in their titles, thus perhaps making them more prominent to one casually reviewing a magic dealer catalog or a magic magazine. But what was Erdnase doing looking at such catalogs or magazines? And even if he never saw such publications, as insular as the magic community is, would it be unreasonable to guess that he had friends/associates who were quite familiar with the magic literature of the day (or at least its high points)? All in all, I cant help but suspect that Erdnase was more familiar with magic than he admitted.



Posted: November 24th, 2004, 7:28 am
by Richard Hatch
A painting by Erdnase's illustrator, Marshall D. Smith, sold on eBay yesterday for $499. Here's a link: ... RK:MEWA:IT
It had previously been listed at $999 and failed to find a bidder.


Posted: November 24th, 2004, 2:07 pm
by Bob Farmer
If you look closely, you can see the guy sitting down has a card palmed in his right hand.


Posted: November 24th, 2004, 3:00 pm
by Tommy
Cool Ace of Spades door ! I want one.



Posted: December 3rd, 2004, 10:57 am
by Richard Hatch
Another book illustrated by Marshall D. Smith, circa 1905, is currently on eBay. He is not identified as the artist in the posting, but several of the illustrations, including the cover illustration are shown. Here's a link: ... Track=true


Posted: December 4th, 2004, 4:15 am
by Tommy
Was the first edition printed by "Letterpress"?
For what it is worth. You can determine this by looking at the back of a printed page and looking for a kind of embossing, in particular look at the back of the illustrations. Letterpress is a relief printing process.
I have a little experience with letterpress and I can say it is not easy to typeset a book without making a spelling mistake, even if you are a great speller. It is set up like mirror writing, that is it looks like a rubber stamp but it is lead type. I am not sure when type setting machines came about but small printers would set up the plate by hand as a rule and each and every letter is a separate piece of type.
Also the illustrations would have been what are called Blocks and they can be expensive. Some years ago I had a small block made and it cost me 50 and there are over 100 in the Erdnase book.
I am not sure when Litho printing came into use in the USA but that would have been much cheaper. The plates are made by a photographic process with litho and they are flat and leave no embossing.

PS I am saying it might not have been Erdnase that made the spelling mistake but the printer.


Posted: December 27th, 2004, 10:58 pm
by Paul Gordon
Originally posted by Lance Pierce:
Regarding Erdnase, Richard Hatch pointed out to me once that many of the illustrations in the book carry Erdnase's copyright statement right beneath the drawing, but many of them don't. There doesn't seem to be a discernable pattern as to why some do and some don't, but all the drawings appear to be pretty close in style.

Coupling this with the information gleaned from the interview with the person who did the artwork for the book and how he expressed his surprise because he didn't remember drawing so many, does anyone have any theories to explain this? Did the artist draw all the pictures that don't bear the copyright statement, and was Erdnase also an excellent mimic with the pen who drew the remaining pictures and put his copyright claim on them?

I know I'm late in the day commenting on this, but:

My ex-wife (artist) thought that there were three different styles of illustrations in the book. (I mentioned this to Richard Hatch when I met him in USA back in 1998/9.) The 'copyrighted' ones were possibly the originals and the others 'style copies' of those, but by two different hands. (My ex wife [Joyce] commented on the small detail; knuckles, creases etc.)

AND - I have a publishing theory (as I am a publisher): If the author(s) wanted to be anonymous, why choose Erdnase which is obviously Andrews spelt backward? Red herring!?

AND - How did he copyright it with a false name? The publisher AND the printer must have known something about him...NO publisher would publish a book by an unknown, for fear of 'breach of copyright.' Who paid the bills? Where did invoices go to?

I THINK that the publisher (Drake) must have been in on it; some kind of joke/scam? I, for one, would NEVER accept a manuscript from an unknown! ALSO - who would Drake pay the royalties/one-off fee to?

If you really wanted to be 100% anonymous, you'd have to NOT copyright/record it at all. And, you'd have to probably print it yourself! Hmm! Brings be back to Drake & McKinney...It makes you think.

MY THEORY is that the book is a 'house' piece of work; possibly a joke to get us all thinking! That, it did, alright...Yes, the revolutionary sleights are different - but, anyone could (and they do) publish esoteric moves that are never demonstrated in person.

TROUBLE is: If one scorns Erdnase, one gets vilified! Daft, really. People only want to believe what they want to believe. This is why we still have the Kennedy/Monroe stories/theories! How dull it would be if the TRUTH was that Oswald really did do it!

The book is NOT (I've searched) recorded at Kew Gardens (holding Stationers Hall material) in England, as also pointed out by the late Alan Kennaugh. That, I think, was another red-herring.

I LIKE the book, but I don't think it was written by a mysterious genius; certainly not Milton Andrews. I think it's a complete red-herring...designed to accomplish EXACTLY what it has accomplished...

Any thoughts, anyone?

Paul Gordon


Posted: December 28th, 2004, 8:37 pm
by Richard Hatch
Originally posted by Paul Gordon:

I THINK that the publisher (Drake) must have been in on it; some kind of joke/scam? I, for one, would NEVER accept a manuscript from an unknown! ALSO - who would Drake pay the royalties/one-off fee to?
Just to clarify a bibliographic point: The first edition (March 1902) was not published by Drake, but--according to the title page--was "published by the author" whoever he may have been. Drake did not begin selling first edition copies until sometime in 1903 (at the reduced price of $1) and did not begin to issue its own editions until 1905 (initially at 50 cents in hardback and 25 cents in paperback). According to a Leo Rullman article in the Sphinx circa 1928, Drake claimed it had purchased the reprint rights outright and had never paid royalties nor had subsequent contact with the mysterious author. Which is not to say that Frederick J. Drake might not have known who the author was. He is, after all, the one who suggested to Sprong and/or Vernon that they read "S. W. Erdnase" in reverse. Of course, the "Mr. Andrews" Drake dealt with might not have been using his real name in his dealing with Drake or the presumed original printer McKinney (who was also selling copies of the book) or with Marshall D. Smith, the illustrator. Which makes sense if he did indeed wish to remain anonymous. I personally don't think he did require or desire such anonymity, as if he did, putting the real name "M. D. Smith" on the titlepage as illustrator, which added no value to the book, would have to be seen as a huge risk to his anonymity. The fact that it took more than 40 years for someone like Martin Gardner to think of tracking down Smith is an accident of history. Anyone could easily have done so early in 1902 and likely quickly tracked down the author based on Smith fresh recollections of when and where they met, which bank the check in payment for the illustrations was written on, the name he used, etc.


Posted: December 28th, 2004, 8:41 pm
by Steve V
I saw a show on PBS where they have 'History Detectives'. Call 'em up and let them use their amazing resources to see what they can come up with. At minimum it should be interesting.
Steve V


Posted: December 28th, 2004, 11:59 pm
by Brad Jeffers
If you really wanted to be 100% anonymous, you'd have to NOT copyright/record it at all.
I don't think the author would have required or desired "100%" anonymity. He simple didn't want his true name to appear on the cover of a book dealing with advantage play - a book that would most likely be read by people he had previously encountered, or may later encounter at the card table.
In his dealings with Drake, Smith and others, he would have no need to use a pseudonym.

MY THEORY is that the book is a 'house' piece of work; possibly a joke to get us all thinking.
An interesting theory.
Absurd - but interesting.


Posted: December 29th, 2004, 8:13 am
by Jim Morton
Originally posted by Steve V:
I saw a show on PBS where they have 'History Detectives'. Call 'em up and let them use their amazing resources to see what they can come up with. At minimum it should be interesting.
Steve V
Steve, I was thinking exactly the same thing.

Has anyone has checked the copyright? (I apologize if this has already been covered. This thread has gotten so substantial that I'm sure I've missed some salient points along the way.) Anyone can put the word "copyright" on a book. That doesn't mean that a copyright was ever actually filed.



Posted: December 29th, 2004, 8:26 am
by Jim Maloney_dup1
Originally posted by Jim Morton:
Has anyone has checked the copyright? (I apologize if this has already been covered. This thread has gotten so substantial that I'm sure I've missed some salient points along the way.) Anyone can put the word "copyright" on a book. That doesn't mean that a copyright was ever actually filed.
All I could find when doing a quick search on the Copyright Office's website was the claim for the 1995 Dover edition.



Posted: December 30th, 2004, 8:51 pm
by Richard Hatch
Originally posted by Jim Morton:

Has anyone has checked the copyright? (I apologize if this has already been covered. This thread has gotten so substantial that I'm sure I've missed some salient points along the way.) Anyone can put the word "copyright" on a book. That doesn't mean that a copyright was ever actually filed.
I believe this is covered earlier in the thread, so will just make a quick resume here: The 4 page copyright application for the first edition was received at the US Copyright Office in mid-February 1902. The copyright holder is identified as the author, S. W. Erdnase, and his address is given c/o James McKinney and Company, printers in Chicago at their business address. The author's name is not identified as a pseudonym (it was not required to be so identified). He is listed as being an American national. Two deposit copies were received at the copyright office in early March (I believe March 8th), 1902, so the book was off the presses and presumably available for sale at that point. There was no recorded transfer or renewal of copyright, so the book became public domain 28 years later in 1930. Those who have checked in Canada and the UK have found no evidence that the work was submitted for copyright protection in either nation, despite the book's claims to have done so.


Posted: January 13th, 2005, 1:18 pm
by Richard Hatch
Jason England just snagged a hard to find edition of Erdnase on eBay. Here's a link to it:
Card Secrets Exposed
This is one of several variants under this title published by Powner for K. C. Card Company. This one has 206 pages, page 206 being Paul Fleming's introduction to the Hoffmann section, even though that is omitted from this edition. That would date this circa 1945. In TMWWE (pp. 336-338), Jeff Busby refers to these variants, advertised by KC as early as 1939, as "fictional," implying they never existed, an indication of their scarcity.


Posted: January 19th, 2005, 5:02 pm
by Guest
There have been numerous attempts to identify mysteries surrounding the book The Expert at the Card Table. Here are some personal observations on one of the greatest books on sleight of hand ever written. Some who read and post in this thread may find my observations of interest. I have some clues from the book that I have not found put forth before. Some of you may be able to expand on them.

The book was published in 1902. My opinion is that the work reflected in the book more closely resembles the kind of table work seen in the era of 1875, possibly a decade before or after, but around that time.

To paint a picture of the 1870s, one would see the era of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid on the western side of the United States. This was the time of Wyatt Earp and the gunfight at the O.K. Coral. Basically the only areas where education was a standard was in the New York, Boston, and Baltimore areas. Therefore, it is my assertion that the author came from one of these areas or possibly Europe.

The author was very well educated. Some claim there was a ghostwriter. Maybe, but if the book was written by the author, he was very well educated. This may seem a bit in depth, but it is very important to the point I am going to make later on. This person probably associated with people much like himself- aristocrats. However, based on the book, I would say that the author was playing with cowboys, miners, farmers, a bar crowd, and prospectors- not people like himself. Again, these are some of the observations I have made through the clues I am going to submit later. You can take them for what they are worth.

M.D. Smith, the illustrator, recollected to Martin Gardener that the man he met in the Chicago hotel room brought with him a board which to place on his lap, and asked him to draw pictures from life. Other people suggested that Erdnase might have been the inventor of the close-up mat. When M.D. Smith illustrated, he didnt know what he was getting into, he just wanted to do a good job for what he was being paid for. M.D. Smith said to Martin Gardener that he recollected that he was asked to draw from life in a hotel room. I disagree with this. I think the illustrations came from photographs. Here is why- if you look at illustrations 5, 6, 8, 10, 13, 44, 45, 56, 63, and 64, all have reflections. What I mean by this is that the hands were performing maneuvers for the photographer above a varnished tabletop. If it would have been a green board or mat, the illustrator would not have shown as great of detail as to show reflection. My assertion is that the illustrator drew based on photos of the operator working at a varnished type tabletop from a saloon, and not the type of tabletop one would find at an aristocrat hall or fancy banquet hotel.

The tabletops in saloons were fashioned to accommodate drinking. Therefore, if beer was spilled, it could be easily wiped up. Aristocrat society made their money in the hotels. The saloons encouraged an atmosphere to have people drinking, playing pool, and card games.

This is why Erdnase did not go into great detail about working with the riffle shuffle. Instead he worked with the working man overhand shuffle. On a table without felt, the cards were difficult to pick up from the table to utilize a riffle shuffle.

On page 24, Erdnase suggested that the best way to practice was to sit up straight at a card table, adjacent to a mirror with cards in hand. Once again, Erdnase mentions a card table. I would imagine that Erdnase was sitting at the card table, not with a close-up mat, performing the manipulations for a camera.

To be continued....
Stay tuned...


Posted: February 10th, 2005, 11:50 pm
by Guest
Amazing. I started this thread Feb. of 2003 and today, two years later, it is still alive and kickin!

I have totally enjoyed reading all of the responses on this thread and reading all of this great stuff rekindles the passion I have for this great book.

Thank you and please, keep them coming!



Posted: February 11th, 2005, 8:22 am
by Richard Hatch
Hi Roberto, thanks for starting this thread!
I'm currently (among other things!) trying to track the first identification of S. W. Erdnase = E. S. Andrews, i.e., who recognized this first and got the word out. I think most of us know of the Vernon story about learning from his friend J. C. Sprong in Chicago that publisher Frederick J. Drake had told Sprong the man's real name was Andrews. Vernon then pestered Drake to reveal more, but Drake would only tell him to read the name backwards. Versions of this are in both the Diaconis preface to REVELATIONS and Vernon's Genii column. Vernon's personal questioning of Drake seems to have been when Vernon was cutting silhouettes at the Chicago World's fair in the early 1930s, but Sprong's interaction with Drake was likely earlier. The bibliography in THE MAN WHO WAS ERDNASE says that Mickey MacDougal's 1939 GAMBLER'S DON'T GAMBLE may have been the first to publish the E. S. Andrews identification, but I have found three earlier published references, all in THE SPHINX, all by bookseller Leo Rullman. The earliest I have is November 1928. He does not annouce it as though this is exciting news, so I assume it was not at the time, though it seems surprising that Vernon would not have known about it, were that the case, given his great interest in the book and its author.
Does anyone know of earlier references?
A 1962 issue of THE MAGICAL BOOKIE makes reference to a first edition copy of Erdnase that has, "inscribed in longhand" on the second flyleaf "S. W. Erdnse = E. S. Andrews". It seems doubtful that this is a copy inscribed by the author, but I'd sure love to look at this copy! Anyone know its present whereabouts?


Posted: February 11th, 2005, 2:14 pm
by Bill Mullins
For what it's worth, the Chicago Daily Tribune reported between late Dec 1902 and Jan 1903 on the bankruptcy proceedings of one James McKinney. I don't know if this is the printer, but since the date falls between the initial release under the imprint of McKinney and subsequent sales by Drake, this may be relevant.

I've got enough info that someone who knows how to work the archives of the Chicago/Cook County court system could pull the file, probably.

Also, Todd Karr's article of last November mentioned a Mr. Andrews who scammed while working for the Charles Branden Commercial Co. I've found another article where they were at work, in the Jan 31 1903 Davenport Iowa Daily Republican. Andrews is not mentioned in this one, but it is the same company, again up to no good.

The CBC was incorporated in Illinois on Dec 19, 1905. The Secretary of State of Illinois may have info from this act.


Posted: February 11th, 2005, 9:05 pm
by Richard Hatch
Bill, great work! I think if you'll recheck the January 1903 Davenport reference that you kindly shared with me, you'll note that "Andrews" is mentioned and was, in fact, arrested there as well, though presumably released rather than held for trial, based on the report. But that may still yield an arrest record with more information on him...
The James McKinney in the bankruptcy petition of January 30th, 1903 is the printer, as his address is given as 73 Plymouth Place in Chicago, which was McKinney's address and the address used by Erdnase in registering the copyring in care of James McKinney. According to the bankruptcy petition, "an inventory of the property" was available for inspection. I wonder if such a document might still exist? It would be interesting to see if the inventory included copies of Erdnase (and how many!) and who bought the assets. It may not be a coincidence that the price of the book was dropped from $2 to $1 the following month and that Frederick J. Drake began advertising first edition copies later in 1903. (Drake's own earliest known printing is dated 1905 and was supposedly made from the original first edition plates).
Anyone in Chicago who can track down the court records?


Posted: February 12th, 2005, 7:44 am
by Todd Karr
Bill: Many thanks for digging up this additional information on the Brandon Company scams!


Posted: February 15th, 2005, 9:58 pm
by Guest
I find all this history of who Erdnase was fasinating and respect the guys doing the detective work as much as I respect Erdnase himself.

To me, even considering where to start is very daunting and way beyond my abilities, I take my hat off to you all and thank you for sharing your thoughts and findings.

while I do find this side of the book interesting and I am fasnated how it came to exist, to me it remaims secondary to the material itself.

For these reasons I am afraid I can offer nothing to the search. I would however like to argue (in a friendly way) Glenn Bishops claims about the twelve card (fancy) stock being something that would never be used by a card cheat.

"As with his twelve card stock or fancy stock. It makes a great demonstration of fake card cheating but no real card cheat would ever cheat like that."

Glenn Bishop.

The variable number stock (titled twelve card stock for illastrive purposes) is very useful, how it is used and why it is wrote up like it is must be understod before a quote such as the one above is thrown out.

We term this example a fancy stock, as it is very rarely that an opertunity occurs for selecting three sets of Four of a Kind; but the procedure is the same for two sets, or for sets of three, or pairs, or, infact, for the stocking of any number of kind, with sleight variation in the calculation.


It is in the description of this stock that Erdnase takes the student away from the mimicking of taught examples and into the understanding of the procedure that is necessary for a card player to use it to full advantage.

It's not just a fake useless procedure used to accomlish this teaching though. If we look at the idea of using this stock with sets of three or two cards (or combinations of four's, three's and/or two's) we can see that the description of obtaining four is needed to gain the necessary understanding.

The sleight variation in the handling mentioned in the text is basic and is the first step to understanding the shuffle.

If using the shuffle to have three cards fall to the dealer (with three sets of three on top) the nine cards being run at the very start are changed to seven and the rest of the shuffle may be done the same. This means that the first card of the three will fall to the dealers hand on the third round rather than the second as with the four card version.

If using the shuffle to have two cards fall to the dealer (with three sets of two on top) the nine cards being run originally are changed to five, this means that the first card of the two will fall to the dealers hand on the fourth round rather than the second as with the four card version or the third round with three.

Thus; the shuffle can then be seen instantly as very useful to the true card cheat. He gets his cards and has knowlwege of plenty of the top cards (eight in the example in the book) after the deal and going into the draw without any need for markings or for glimpsing anything.

I'm sure the multiple possibilites of gaining this knowlege before and while getting involved in the draw can be seen from here.

Aspects such as; Erdnase's like of decks with no work put in, his dislike of cold decking, every single word of the stock and cull shuffling, the wonderful palms that were designed to work specifically following an overhand shuffle and with the purpose of holding out for the cut, and his understanding of just how useful the bottom deal is that make me believe strongly that Erdnase was nothing other than a card cheat of the highest order.



Posted: March 2nd, 2005, 8:04 pm
by Tommy

This might be pure coincidence but I just wonder if this Coterie of confidence men and Exclusive Coterie is connected in some way. The use of this word Coterie which is not a word I read often and the connection with card cheating seems interesting, so thought I would put it up.

Denver Times July 14, 1901
Crack Bunco Man Will Be Rearrested Tomorrow.
But the Traveler Had "Brawses" on His Trunk and Sped Along After Blonger Had Been Made to Cough Up.
A new complaint will be filed tomorrow by the district attorney against Lou Blonger, the head of a coterie of confidence [men?]. Blonger was arrested last week on a complaint signed by George Ritter, who charged him with enticing him into a brace poker game and swindling him out of $300. Justice Rice was aroused from his slumbers at 2 o'clock by Ritter and an officer, and a warrant secured for Blonger.



Posted: March 4th, 2005, 8:23 pm
by Bill Mullins
Probably just a coincidence. "Coterie" is a word which, while not obsolete, has fallen from favor over the last hundred years.


Posted: March 4th, 2005, 10:09 pm
by Richard Hatch
A painting by Marshall D. Smith, illustrator of THE EXPERT, sold at auction today and can be viewed here:
Marshall D. Smith Painting


Posted: March 5th, 2005, 5:49 am
by Tommy
Mr Hatch it seems from this that Marshall Smith is more well known to magicians than the Art World, they do not deem it worth a mention that Marshall Smith was the illustrator of the of the Erdnase book or are unaware of this fact. I do not know if this interests you but it seems they are looking for help for his biography. See below:
These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:

A Chicago and New Orleans painter known for street scenes, Marshall Smith exhibited in the 1930s at the Art Institute of Chicago. He was also a WPA artist.


Posted: April 3rd, 2005, 6:07 pm
by Richard Lane
In the interest of completeness:

The Charles Branden Commercial Co. is not mentioned in any volume of the Marvyn Scudder Manual of Extinct or Obsolete Companies, or the Robert D. Fisher Manual of Valuable and Worthless Securities.

Did anyone chase down the certificate of incorporation from the Illinois vaults?


Posted: April 4th, 2005, 4:14 pm
by Richard Hatch
Another book illustrated by Marshall D. Smith is currently on eBay. It is missing a page, but I assume all the Smith illustrations are there. Here's a link:
Marshall D Smith illustrated book on eBay


Posted: April 25th, 2005, 5:58 am
by Richard Hatch
Here's another book illustrated by Marshall D. Smith on eBay, showing some of his illustrations:
Jack Henderson Down South on eBay
Warning: The cover illustration (by Smith) is no longer "politically correct" and might be offensive to some. Perhaps that is also why it is fetching such a high price, with reserve not yet met!


Posted: May 14th, 2005, 5:37 pm
by Richard Hatch
Here's another painting attributed to Marshall D. Smith being auctioned off tomorrow in Oak Park, Illinois:
Marshall D Smith Painting
Opening bid of just $200...


Posted: May 16th, 2005, 8:15 am
by Bill Mullins
It looks like the Smith painting only brought $225.


Posted: May 16th, 2005, 5:37 pm
by Brian Marks
Eardnase, so who is he?


Posted: May 17th, 2005, 4:53 am
by Jonathan Townsend
Originally posted by Brian Marks:
Eardnase, so who is he?
That would be Lobe Eardnase, a cousin of the illustrious author of Expert at the Card Table.


Posted: May 17th, 2005, 9:35 am
by El Mystico
Author of "Expert at the Ear Surgeon's table"


Posted: June 1st, 2005, 1:06 am
by Guest
Would it please be possible for someone to briefly rattle out the names of those already under the Erdnase spotlight? Ie who's already been looked at?

I have a name that so far fits the bill; dates, place, and he has a strong literary background. Like the aforementioned Andrews in this post however, no pack of cards found yet. Would really appreciate knowing if he's been targeted yet and/or dismissed as nothing.

Thank you.


Posted: June 1st, 2005, 4:04 am
by Guest
Hello everyone, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading this topic thus far, and I'd like to add my thoughts:

I had the honor of meeting with Darwin Ortiz the day before yesterday and we had an interesting discussion about who Erdnase was. He informed me that the Chicago bank that issued M.D. Smith's check (for payment of the illustrations) was later bought out by a larger bank which today still maintains account information from 1902. The source that gave Ortiz this information, which he did not disclose to me, has not contacted Darwin with follow up information. Only a few legal formalities needed to take place before the account information could be given out, but that's the last Ortiz heard of the investigation.

I shared my theory to Darwin about Theodore Hardison possibly being Erdnase. The fact that Hardison's manuscript "Poker" directly plagiarises phrases and illustrations from Expert at the Card Table is not my sole reason for this belief. "Poker" was self published by Hardison in 1914, around the time Erdnase couldn't be contacted anymore for his payments. (I believe Drake accepted payments at this point, but if you read this entire thread, I'm sure you'll discover who exactly pocketed the rest of the profits) Hardison added the spread, the strike second, and the greek deal, which many (including Vernon) suspect was purposely left out of Expert for certain reasons. I believe "Poker" was written partially as a sequel: another attempt to disclose the same information and make more money.

If "Poker" is read with the mindset of the author writing a sequel, and who thought he was treated unfairly in the profits of his first book, the text takes a new meaning:

"as the novice begins his career in the game, and is fortunite enough to enjoy a few good winnings, his natural ambition, as it is with all 'Young America' is to go higher"
-Theodore Hardison

Also I think it is interesting to note that the letters E-R-D-N-A-S-E can be found in the name "Theodore Hardison", which both I and Darwin believe to be a pseudonym.

be well,
Jeff Wessmiller

P.S This is merely a theory that I've dreamt up. Anyone that can provide information that would prove me wrong would be appreciated, and probably help me sleep better at night.


Posted: June 1st, 2005, 4:51 am
by Guest
Hi Jeff great to read more from you - hope you're in good health + whatnot. (Might make it down in August after all!)

I can't confess to having read Hardison's publication, and I must apologise for the following, only adding to more brainfood at night, but there are a number of inconsistencies:

Granted, the letters exist within his name, though as do T-H-O-D-O-H-R-I, with no apparent reason for them being left out. Does anyone here share the view that often the NAME is overstudied and analysed? It presumably wasn't meant as a puzzle/pseudo/century-long-brain-itch but rather a way to slyly take the heat off his real name (for his safety) without going crazy into word-games. Reversing a name seems pretty logical, certainly if it works and reads as well as "Erdnase" and not ... Zitro (actually pretty neat :D ), Etrof, or what have you. Who spends such time and effort to write such a beautiful piece of work, only to then use a name that is in no way related? No doubt he'd brag about the book and show it to some close ones - he must have had some friends.

The fact that E.S.Andrews fits perfectly is often viewed as though it doesn't matter - like Gardner with M.F.Andrews - what's the point in assuming it's Andrews if you're going to ignore E and S and substitute two different ones?? There are several hundred E.S.Andrews available on online census records, each of them surely deserving more credit and time (since they match perfectly what we're looking for - the NAME) than names that simply contain SOME letters that match? This is no disrespect but it just beats me why people don't take such a solid lead more seriously.

Furthermore - why would Hardison write one book under a pseudo, only then to write a "sequel" under his real name, claiming no credit to the original? Could the paraphrasing not be simply because EATCT was a well-read book at the time with solid well-written material? Much as works published today cross-reference and quote from other writers' works?

Again, would appreciate thoughts on the "making money" comment since (I believe touched on earlier) is spending months writing a book really the best way to make money? Surely a man of his talent, requiring money, could find faster more effective methods?

None of this, again, is meant as disrespectful or hole-picking, just further angles on what we have. I'm awaiting replies from the people in the US I've contacted regarding the name I mentioned above - a little more information this way and I'll post it all up for public viewing here.

Nothing for certain by any means, but the name, place and date all fit pretty snug.

In thought,


Posted: June 1st, 2005, 5:13 am
by Guest
(PS the info is: E.S.Andrews (have precise forenames), born within 5 years of 1850 (have precise date), worked in NC* (have precise town) at about the turn of the century, and worked for a newspaper, rather high-up the pecking order).

*EDIT: Please forgive ignorant Brit - misread somewhere & was of the angle that Chicago was within NC. :whack: Still, he could've travelled...


Posted: June 1st, 2005, 7:14 am
by Guest
Hi Drum (DMC), tried e-mailing you, but the e-mail address in your profile ain't working.

We never did meet up.....